Ada vs. Emin, 2018

Ada vs. Emin


Slow Motion Video
Full HD

10 min

Baby: Ada Cooke

Director of photography:
Tilmann Rödiger

Assistant Camera:
Adam Gawel
Jörg Stegmann

Special Thanks:
Alexander Theis
Seraphine Meya
Dominik Rinnhofer

The artist Marina Abramović consolidated the statement that women are less successful in art than men because they don‘t want to give up love, children and family. The artist Tracey Emin says about herself that she doesn’t compromise and that she would have been either 100 per cent artist or 100 per cent mother. Two of the most influential female artists of our time thus reproduce the idea that as a woman, you can‘t have it all. While for Gerhard Richter (3 children), Pablo Picasso (4 children) or Lucien Freud (at least 12 children) it was apparently not difficult to be both a father and a successful artist, women in the 21st century are still expected to choose one or the other. 

Hannah Cooke stages herself with her daughter Ada in two settings in which she meticulously quotes famous artworks by Tracy Emin (My Bed, 1998) and Marina Abramović (The Artist is present, 2010). She shows herself to us as an artist AND a mother and challenges us to question stereotypes.

Text by Dr. Nicole Grothe, Museum Ostwall, 2022

I don’t think I’d be making work (if I were a mother).’ She admits. ‘I would have been either 100% mother or 100% artist. I’m not flaky and I don’t compromise. Having children and being a mother… It would be a compromise to be an artist at the same time. I know some women can. But that’s not the kind of artist I aspire to be. There are good artists that have children. Of course there are. They are called men. It’s hard for women. It’s really difficult, they are emotionally torn. It’s hard enough for me with my cat.

Tracey Emin

Exhibition views

Museum Ostwall, 2022
Exhibition view, Städtische Galerie Villingen Schwenningen 2021
Syker Vorwerk
Foto: Tobias Hübel